Four young hikers had to be rescued by helicopter yesterday after they apparently got lost while on a walk in the Escorca area of the island, the police reported last night. The group of rescued hikers were all aged between 22 and 27 and included three men and a woman. They had apparently set out on their excursion, in the area popular with weekend hikers but also infamous for hikers, constantly being warned and advised by the professionals, being rescued or getting lost, on Saturday with the intention of camping out overnight in the area and returning home on Sunday night. But it appears that on the hike back to base, the walkers got lost which is why on Sunday night the families of the missing walkers contacted the police and the Guardia Civil. A search and rescue mission was immediately launched along the river bed on Sunday night, but with no success, the search parties were called off as night fell and resumed at first light yesterday morning. A Guardia Civil and air sea rescue helicopter were brought in this morning and on board the Guardia Civil chopper was a member of the service who knows the area extremely well to help co-ordinate the operation. But after a few sorties over the area where the group was thought to have got lost, the Guardia Civil expanded their search zone and eventually the four hikers were spotted on the Ariany estate, safe and healthy. But that was not the end of the hikers' ordeal. The strong winds gusting in the area yesterday initially prevented the Guardia Civil helicopter, carrying out its first rescue mission in Majorca since being brought into service recently, from landing.

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